Stephanie Cully: How To Lead with Empathy, The Story of an Open-Minded Scrum Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Leading with Empathy, The Story of an Open-Minded PO

In this episode, Stephanie discusses her experience with an exceptional Product Owner (PO) who, despite having no prior experience in Agile and Scrum, demonstrated a remarkable willingness to learn and adapt. The PO’s approach was characterized by asking questions, seeking help, and engaging in training sessions to better understand Agile practices. This openness extended to discussions about customer pain points and the user journey, contributing significantly to the team’s ability to deliver effectively. The PO’s caring attitude towards the team and flexibility in adapting to the developers’ needs further exemplified the qualities of a great PO.

The Bad Product Owner: Addressing the Root Causes of an Absent PO

In this segment, Stephanie shares an experience with a Product Owner (PO) who was essentially absent, leaving a Business Analyst (BA) to handle product prioritization. The BA inadvertently compounded the issue by taking on the PO’s responsibilities instead of addressing the root cause together with the team and the PO. Stephanie intervened to emphasize the importance of understanding why the PO was unavailable, revealing that the PO was overwhelmed with multiple roles. Through facilitating direct conversations among the BA, developers, and stakeholders, Stephanie highlighted the need for clear roles and effective time management in agile teams.
If you are facing a similar situation, where the PO is mostly absent, you may want to review our Sprint Checklist, which helps you have a coaching conversation with the PO, and define clear expectations about participation in the work with the team.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Stephanie Cully

Stephanie Cully is a Scrum Master, and CEO of Scrum Life Consulting. Stephanie founded Scrum Life with a mission to help Scrum Masters overcome self-doubt and land the role.

You can link with Stephanie Cully on LinkedIn.

Drew Craig: From Dictator, to Collaboration Facilitator, Contrasting Agile Product Ownership stances

The Great Product Owner: Seniority, Engagement, and Presence, Characteristics Of Standout PO’s

In this episode, Drew talks about an exemplary Product Owner who embodied seniority and dedication in their role. The standout PO was fully invested, engaged, and present, consistently participating in team discussions. Encouraging problem-solving autonomy, the PO crafted a visionary “what,” and allowed teams to contribute the “how.” Only intervening when necessary, this PO fostered an environment where teams could excel.

The Bad Product Owner: Insights on Overcoming Dictatorial PO Patterns

In this episode, Drew addresses Product Owner anti-patterns, recounting a scenario where a dictatorial PO hindered team collaboration. The PO struggled to create cohesion and dismissed ideas from contractors. Using a retrospective, Drew facilitated an open conversation, emphasizing the importance of helping the PO understand the consequences of their actions. Tips include doing a “reset” to redefine team dynamics and ensuring leadership comprehends Agile principles. Drew advocates for objective thinking as Scrum Masters, fostering empathy for PO challenges and encouraging open dialogue with POs about their influences.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Drew Craig

Drew calls himself an Agile Coach for humans; inspiring growth for individuals, teams, and systems to be better together. In all of his roles, the connection has been the people. He is passionate about establishing sustainable and simple processes, techniques, or insights as mechanisms toward self-sufficient and empowered systems.

You can link with Drew Craig on LinkedIn and connect with Drew Craig on Twitter.

Anna Mbengam: When Roles Blur In Agile Teams, the Product Owner and Manager Anti-Pattern

The Great Product Owner: Personal Connection and Growth, The Power of Supportive Product Ownership

Anna shares her experience with an exceptional Product Owner who stood out for his genuine care and personal investment in team members. Beyond professional expertise, he took the time to understand Anna and offered invaluable support in communication and interactions within the organization. This Product Owner’s willingness to seek and provide feedback, both positive and constructive, played a crucial role in Anna’s growth and development. This episode sheds light on the qualities that make a Product Owner truly great, emphasizing the importance of empathy, mentorship, and effective communication.

The Bad Product Owner: When Roles Blur, The PO Who Was Also A Manager

In this episode, Anna shares the story of a PO that was too involved with the team, bordering on micromanagement. On top of that, this PO had the dual role of PO and manager, leading to confusion for the team. In the planning meetings, the PO interfered with the sizing of tasks. Anna offers valuable tips such as asking questions to highlight the impact of such behavior and providing education with respect. Addressing these patterns involves open communication with the PO, seeking their perspective, and ongoing coaching to support their evolution in the role.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Anna Mbengam

Anna, an accomplished Scrum Master and SAFe Coach since 2018, thrives in diverse industries like Personal Investments, Healthcare, Food & beverage, and Banking. She’s authored 5 self-published guides aiding aspiring Scrum Masters, and her mentoring has transformed 200+ professionals into highly effective individuals for any organization.

You can link with Anna Mbengam on LinkedIn and read Anna’s books.

Eliza Gregory: Strategies for Dealing with a Misaligned Product Owner

The Great Product Owner: Caring, Committed, and Capable: Traits of a Great Product Owner

In this episode, Eliza emphasizes that a great PO genuinely cares about the team, the product, and the project. They have a strong desire to perform well and ensure the success of the team. Eliza mentions the importance of reminding the PO to take breaks and rest, if they may have a tendency to shoulder too much responsibility. A great PO should be able to say “no” when necessary, demonstrating their care for the team’s workload and effectively prioritizing tasks to align with the product’s goals. Overall, a great PO is someone who combines a genuine concern for the team, a passion for the product, and the ability to make informed decisions for the project’s success.

The Bad Product Owner: Strategies for Dealing with a Misaligned Product Owner

In this episode, Eliza discusses the challenges of working with a bad Product Owner (PO) who was new to the company, and exhibited behaviors that were not in the team’s best interest, despite claiming to support change and act as a catalyst for it. In meetings, the PO constantly fought against change and advocated for the status quo. Additionally, they frequently interrupted and spoke over the team, and even asked the Scrum Master for more command and control.

Eliza found it confusing that the PO seemed to be fighting against Agile principles and stepping on the team’s autonomy. Eventually, Eliza left the company, but learned that the PO had conflicts with other Agile coaches and managers as well.

She provides tips for dealing with such situations, including having one-on-one conversations with the PO and coaching them as part of the Scrum Master’s role. Creating a safe space for the team to express themselves without interruptions is crucial, and understanding the perspective and background of the PO is also important. Eliza suggests getting training to better understand the PO’s job. Overall, the episode highlights the challenges posed by a bad Product Owner and offers strategies for managing and coaching them effectively.

The Ultimate Guide to Supporting Product Owners as a Scrum Master

Are you having trouble helping the team work well with their Product Owner? We’ve put together a course to help you work on the collaboration team-product owner. You can find it at bit.ly/coachyourpo. 18 modules, 8+ hours of modules with tools and techniques that you can use to help teams and PO’s collaborate.

About Eliza Gregory

Eliza Gregory has worked as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and Agile Coach for U.S. Defense and the German automotive industry. She uses teachings from Agile to hone her writing process, and has a new novel out this May about an IT Project Manager coping with burnout and work stress. Originally from Virginia, she now resides in Bavaria, Germany.

You can link with Eliza Gregory on LinkedIn and connect with Eliza Gregory on Twitter, and you can read about her novel Painting the Whiskey Blue.

Gregory Miller: From High Performers to Demoralization, And How The Product Owner Role Can Destroy A Scrum Team

In this episode, Greg reflects on a team that self-destructed, causing him significant pain. The team, previously considered an exemplary high-performing unit, faced external factors and decisions that disrupted their dynamics. Leadership discussions about replacing their product, the removal of their Product Owner (PO), and a lack of support left the team directionless and demoralized. Greg recognizes the detrimental impact of removing the PO, highlighting it as an anti-pattern that ultimately led to the team’s disbandment. This episode serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of providing support, direction, and maintaining team cohesion to foster a thriving and motivated workforce.

Featured Book of the Week: “The Scrum Pocket Guide” by Gunther Verheyen

In this segment, Greg talks about his most influential book for Scrum Masters, which is “The Scrum Pocket Guide” by Gunther Verheyen, a previous guest on the podcast. He highly recommends this book, as it has been invaluable to him in his role. Greg frequently refers to it and even keeps it on his nightstand for easy access.

One aspect that stands out to Greg is Gunther’s emphasis on the values side of Agile. The book delves into why the Scrum values are significant and explores their importance in the context of Scrum. Greg appreciates this focus on values as a fundamental aspect of Agile practices.

For further exploration of the Scrum values, Greg suggests referring to the values section in the Scrum Guide. Overall, “The Scrum Pocket Guide” has had a profound impact on Greg’s understanding of Scrum and serves as a go-to resource for him as a Scrum Master.

Transform Your Agile Teams with Hard-Earned Lessons from Super-Experienced Scrum Masters

Do you wish you had decades of experience? Learn from the Best Scrum Masters In The World, Today! The Tips from the Trenches – Scrum Master edition audiobook includes hours of audio interviews with SM’s that have decades of experience: from Mike Cohn to Linda Rising, Christopher Avery, and many more. Super-experienced Scrum Masters share their hard-earned lessons with you. Learn those today, make your teams awesome!

About Gregory (Greg) Miller

Greg is an Agilist and Coach who has been working in Agile software development for more than 10 years. He hosts The Agile Within podcast with Mark Metze (a previous guest), which promotes agile behaviors and mindset. He lives in Ohio with his wife and four children, two of which are twins.

You can link with Gregory (Greg) Miller on LinkedIn and connect with Gregory (Greg) Miller on Twitter.

Get These Valuable Lessons Today!
Down-to-earth, hard-earned Scrum Masters lessons and the Tips from the Trenches e-book table of contents, delivered by email
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a clickable PO Cheat Sheet
This handy Coach Your PO cheat-sheet includes questions to help you define the problem, and links to handy, easy techniques to help you coach your Product Owner
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Enter e-mail to download a checklist to help your PO manage their time
This simple checklist and calendar handout, with a coaching article will help you define the minimum enagement your PO must have with the team
Internal Conference
Checklist
Internal Conference
Checklist
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Motivate your team with the right metrics, and the right way to visualize and track them. Marcus presents a detailed How-To document based on his experience at The Bungsu Hospital
Download a detailed How-To to help measure success for your team
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
A moving story of how work at the Bungsu Hospital was transformed by a simple tool that you can use to help your team.
Read about Visualization and TRANSFORM The way your team works
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! FREE Product Owner Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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NEW! Mini-Summit
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
Join us for this new Mini-Summit featuring seven pre-recorded sessions handpicked from our most popular past events.
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